Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bad Loving

Hollywood gives out awards for just about anything. It’s all about the facetime, baby. We writers are a bit more reserved. We have regional awards and a few national awards for genres and one big national award, which so few viewers tuned into that they’re no longer on TV. But there is an award that probably would be a hit on TV: the bad sex award.

Never heard of it? This year - the 17th annual year, mind you - France's Bad Sex in Fiction Award went to Jonathan Littell for his novel The Kindly Ones. Now, if you haven’t read The Kindly Ones, you might think it was a novel so obscure only the judges had read it. Au contraire: it won the Prix Goncourt in 2006 and has sold a million copies in Europe. The BBC said:
In one excerpt, the author describes a sexual encounter as "a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg".
There’s even been a Lifetime Achievement Award for bad sex in fiction. Last year John Updike won that honor after his novel The Widows of Eastwick gained him a fourth consecutive nomination.

There are still prestigious awards to be had, people. Keep writing!
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27 comments:

  1. I guess any award is better than no award – if it gets people to buy the book! However, after learning about these awards a few months ago, I now try to be more careful when writing sexy scenes.

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  2. Too funny! Oh well, I guess it's all publicity.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  3. sex is so subjective, no? I am trying to think what turns me on in fiction and I suppose I was ruined at a young age by reading 007 books. James Bond sucking the spine of a sea urchin from the arch of a woman's foot. Now that was sexy! And of course, Gone with the Wind - we'd call it rape now but it was pretty thrilling back then. Anything by Anais Nin - oooh.
    I always put sex in my novels and I worry about it because I want to get it right but what is right?

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  4. Good question, Jan. "Right" is relative. What is too much for me wouldn't be for someone else, and so forth.

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  5. What is it they say, Any publicity is good publicity? I'd say this confirms that ;)

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  6. There's still hope for me then. (g)

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

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  7. Too funny, Helen. I agree, it is so subjective, what offends some of us, makes others laugh.
    Karen

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  8. Sex and the Writer. Maybe that could be a new book. Maybe the writer likes to experiment to make sure he gets it right.

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  9. Carol -- Or maybe he experiments to make sure he gets it wrong, to be in the running for this award.

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  10. How shockingly funny! People really will bow and smile for any spotlight!

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  11. I'm glad I don't write many sex scenes. I won't be in danger of winning this award.

    Soft boiled egg, huh....

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  12. I've heard of those awards - too funny!

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  13. Poor guy wasn't even hard boiled...

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  14. I have the distinct idea that phrase would not be taken as a compliment if voiced to one's significant other in the soft after-glow. I'm just saying.

    Elspeth

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  15. "a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg".

    I choked on my tea when I read this. Now I'm wondering, maybe there's something I don't know yet about sex . . . I must have a talk with dh.

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  16. Miss Footloose, that's probably because you're clearly not having bad sex, so how could you know?

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  17. I'm happy to write about appropriate sex by which I mean it's a reflection of my characters' relationship (Hey, if it's bad that's up to them!) but I don't write about it if they're just showing off. And I don't write about squishy sex! Ewww!

    Helen, the cat's almost out the bag - I've signed a publishing contract today!

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  18. I agree with Jan, the sexiest prose I've ever read has to be by Anais Nin, hands down. Shiver.

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  19. Chris! Yay, yay, and yay. When that cat's out of the bag, I want to hear all about it.

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  20. Um.. boiled egg?? .. does not sound fun! :)

    Chris - your news sounds a whole lot better!

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  21. I think sex is hard to write well. Very easy to go porno or cheesy. I try to just end the page. Leave it to the reader's imagination. Probably not the best method.

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